A new start after 60: At 70 I went camping for the first time – and stopped cocooning myself from life

His tent has blown down, midges have forced him to sleep in a van, but after decades of planning and preparation, Erik Wilkinson is embracing the unexpected

Erik Wilkinson’s 70th birthday hit him with great force. He celebrated, but cannot remember the occasion. However, a phrase entered his head. “Pregnancy of death,” he says. “The words sprang into me. I thought: ‘I don’t know how long I’ve got.’ And this phrase kept coming to mind.”

It began to dominate his thoughts. “Like any pregnancy, you need certain inputs. Because you are going through a transition,” he says.

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